The 1976 Summer Games marked the start of three consecutive boycotts as three African countries -- Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia -- dropped out for political reasons, as did Uruguay (for another reason).
Defending Poland were forced to settle for a silver this time as East Germany captured the gold with a 3-1 victory. The winners scored early and late, striking twice in the opening 15 minutes through Hartmut Schade and Martin Hoffmann and again with six minutes left on a Reinhard Haefner goal before a crowd of 71,617 in the Olympic Stadium. Grzegorz Lato scored the Poles' lone goal. Polish striker Andrzej Szarmach led all scorers with six goals.
The Montreal Games will also be remembered as the springboard of the international careers of several big-name players: a 21-year-old French midfielder named Michel Platini (he wore No. 11, not 10 at the time), Spanish goalkeeper Luis Arconada and Mexico's 18-year-old midfielder Hugo Sanchez, who went on to greater fame and fortune with Real Madrid in Spain and the Mexican national team.
Platini, who would soon go on to become a key figure with the French national team and Juventus in Italy, scored three goals in the tournament. He struck both in a 4-1 first-round win over Guatemala and a third with ten minutes remaining in a 1-1 first-round draw against Israel. France's run ended in the quarter-finals, losing two players -- Jean Fernandez and Francisco Rubio -- to 58th minute red cards with the score at 1-0 . The East Germans went on to win, 4-0.
The Soviet Union overcame Brazil for the bronze medal, 2-0, before 55,647 spectators. Despite having the early round games in Toronto, Ottawa, Sherbrooke and Montreal, the 23 matches attracted a promising total of 580,156 spectators.